Location of FT Test

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by Felt_Rider, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    In my area and to my understanding of the best roads to cycling in a 50 mile radius of where I live are the following choices.

    1. A highway that is mostly uphill gradient and will allow a 20 minute uninterrupted stretch of road before coming to the next town. The downside to this location is a few downhill spots where I struggled on the last test to catch up to the drop in wattage because of the couple of dips. I really struggle to spin at a fast rate and I have compact gearing.

    2. A 9 mile uninterrupted mountain climb with an average of 8% gradient, but does have a couple small dips. I may manage to spin fast enough on those dips to keep my wattage up.

    3. Indoor trainer. Seems to be the most consistent resistance and unintertupted spot to test if I can keep cool enough, but it is not like it is very cool outdoors either at this moment.

    Those seem to be my best options for my location.
    I see most of the guys and gals in the know do their tests outdoors.

    Is it just too hard to keep focused for a 20 minute test on the trainer? Seems to be the most ideal spot for consistency and certainly no traffic interuptions, but I rarely see anyone talk highly about testing indoors.
     
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  2. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Sorry to post such a repeated question. Although I am still curious if others here have no other choice based on their location to use an indoor trainer.

    I guess my answer is obvious.
    I suppose I will drive to the mountain climb for my next test.
     
  3. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Personally I'd pick either of your outdoor choices over the trainer. I just don't put out as much power on a trainer even with a very big cooling fan.

    Definitely use all your gears to continue working hard on the small descents, but another trick is to actually feather your rear brake a bit while continuing to pedal hard for the brief descents. I do that if I really want to maximize AP on one regular 20 minute L4 course around here that has a few tight bends a bit too tight to pedal around at full power. I can't keep pedaling hard at speed through those curves but can pedal hard while feathering the rear brake at a bit lower speed and it keeps my power up. Sounds pretty strange, I know, but if you're chasing the last couple of watts it can help.

    -Dave
     
  4. Eldrack

    Eldrack New Member

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    Although there aren't any real hills around where I live there are quite a few short steep pitches that go up about 20-30 meters followed by downhill sections where it's hard to get your wattage up. They're a real pain all told, totally ruin your TT rhythm.

    Because of them I don't use AP for my FTP tests. I always use NP and maybe round it down to the nearest 5 or 10 watts instead of up. If there was a nice flat road that I could use (that isn't covered in lethal amount of traffic) that would be nice but there isn't so I'm stuck with picking the flatest stretch and going for a ballpark figure rather than an exact one. I guess I could get the trainer out but I hate it so I won't :p.

    Off to France/Switzerland next week though, so my next FTP test will be going up a mountain. That should give me a pretty clear idea of how unfit I am!
     
  5. halbritt

    halbritt New Member

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    I normally ride the same 8 mile training loop every morning. There are a couple of traffic lights on this loop that rarely change. If they do go red, I'll feather my break and slow down to keep power up and wait for the light to change to keep the power up for the interval.
     
  6. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Good tips that I will keep in mind the next time around.
    Thanks
    Very nice....enjoy
    I would say post some pics, but since you will be bustin a gut doing your FT test I doubt you will have time. :)
     
  7. DancenMacabre

    DancenMacabre New Member

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    Felt...

    Intriguing questions but first a rather obvious one for you:

    How long do you intend this test to be? I'm assuming you are going to do a 20 minute test....correct?

    FWIW, I've done MMP tests of 5 minutes, 20 minutes, 60 minutes....all on the trainer and didn't find it at all hard to stay focused. Mind you, they hella hurt like all heck, but staying focused wasn't an issue. In some ways it is easier on the trainer from the perspective of not having to really focus much attention to the road or your surroundings while outdoors. Indoors you can just pedal and suffer to your heart's delight :)

    I'd say this, if you do want to use the trainer for your test, make sure you don't just jump on the trainer for your test without having ridden the trainer semi-regularly for a few days before. No doubt, you know your history of outdoor vs indoor power metrics. Even though I make just as much power on the trainer as outdoors, if I don't ride the trainer for say, a week, then there's a small decrease in power when I first get back on the trainer. Does that make sense?

    As far as using an outdoor route, just keep in mind that if you do a long enough climb with significant changes in altitude, then it may result in a lower AP as your vo2max will decline as you go high.
     
  8. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    How high do you think we climb in 20 minutes? :pAt 4w/kg I ain't climbing high enough even on a 10% slope to start worrying about power loss due to poking my head above the clouds.

    It took the fast lads in the Tour today about 1hr20 to climb the Madeleine. Chris Anker set the race on fire pulling 410watts (6.4w/kg) for 10 minutes, which gained 879ft (1660 to 2546) and shelling more than a few top guys off the back in the process. During that 4km pull he averaged 13mph on slopes that were between 7.5 and 10%. Ouch... Major ouch.

    Now if they're climbing that fast and not gaining massive chunks of height in 10 minutes I don't think that most of us won't be seeing a drop off in our FTP guestimation tests.
     
  9. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I have only done the 20 minute test.
    What we call mountains in north Georgia are mere hills to those of you in the western states.:eek:
    Thanks for sharing your insight. You always have good info.

    Especially me :D
    My cycling buddies are typically at the top ordering pizza as they wait for me.:p
     
  10. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Just think how bad it'd be if they layed off the pizza and just sipped on water instead. :p

    Don't worry, even Contador on really steep climbs like the Angliru (lots of 18 to 22% for miles...) cant climb far enough in 20 minutes to gain enough altitude to put a massive dent in his power output. 40 minutes, yes... 20... no.
     
  11. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Even though I found the last course used tough because of the slightly downhill sections I suppose I am content with the FT number. At the end of the 20 minutes I had nothing left in the tank and it took quite a while to regain my composure to return to the car. :))Good thing about going mostly uphill on the FT test is an easier return to the car and chance to cool down.)

    I had a friend that is a part time cycling coach offered to draft me and help me stay motivated and that really helped me. Being that he is much stronger than me it was not much a struggle for him to stay on my wheel and still yell at me to keep my power up and he was using his PM I suppose to gauge my drops in power. This course that I used is actually one that he uses for weakers riders such as me. He does his personal test on the mountain.

    If I remember correctly I used 6 miles of the roadway when I hit the 20 minute mark and ended just a few miles short of getting into heavier traffic or near the town limits. Most of the course was about 4 to 6% uphill gradient with a couple 1/2 mile stretches with about 4 to 6% downhill gradient. In those downhill sections my friend was yelling at me to get my power up, but I was on my 50/11 ratio and could not catch up.

    In summary I suppose I am still content with the FT number derived from this test. I am finding it a tough mark when using for my indoor training. As Dave mentioned about trainer efforts being tougher to hold I think this number I am using seems to fit fine for the indoor efforts and a touch low for the outdoor efforts.

    I am not sure if schedules will line up again to have this friend draft and motivate to keep up the effort, but if he can I will give him warning that I will be feather the brake on those sections. I think out of the last test effort was having someone there to keep me pushing was a really great experience. He spent a lot of his free time helping me go through warm up drills and giving me advice before the test as well. Not to mention that he went through all the drills and followed me on the 20 minute test on a 98 degree day. A lot of appreciation to him.

    I may use this section of road again instead of the mountain and try feathering the brakes.
     
  12. DancenMacabre

    DancenMacabre New Member

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    And suddenly as the incline turns downward, life is good again, and the test is over. Well done on seeing it through. Pacing can be such a subtle but very important component of a good test. I think the more you do them, the better you get at that facet of your game....especially when to start cranking up the intensity and how much to do so...


    That's exactly how I was when I first started training indoors....power was down, RPE was way up, and I could only tolerate short sessions. Doing it day in, day out...I mean 4, 5, sometimes 6x/week and first the gap closed and then suddenly, I found that on some workouts, I could do even better indoors, than out....such as the classic L5 - 5 x 5m w/2.5m rest as well as for L6. When you have no other choice but to ride indoors for long stretches, it can help narrow the gap a lot.

    A few things that helped...besides obviously having a cool room and tons of air being moved.....a) experimenting w/different cadence as the trainer is not like riding outdoors and b) going down slightly in the intensity for a given Level you want to train but adding time.....doing more say, 3 x 20-25m @ 90% time workouts than 2 x 20 @ 100%.


    You talk about some hella weather....98 F??? Wow. You know, I'd wager that had you done the test on a day (or time) that was, say 30 degrees cooler, that you might have produced a few more watts. Ironically, it relates to your "having trouble reproducing outdoor power while indoors on the trainer" comment. For most people, they overheat and/or fail to get a big enough fan, hence their body temperature rises and while you are desperately trying to thermo-regulate, it leaves less for pedalling your bike...
     
  13. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I am pretty excited about returning to consistently training indoors. With life (marriage, work, etc.) training outdoors is near impossible for me considering I have to drive to get somewhere safe to cycle, but I am fine tuning the daily schedule and my indoor training will now be even more focused than before and not just spin classes, but at home on the trainer with the powermeter. I had been using the gym spin bike (RPE) because it fit with my commute to work, but a spin bike is nothing like a bike on a good fluid trainer and the truth meter (PM) instead of RPE. So I am really excited to get back to the meat and potatoes of my training. I am ramping up as you say over the next several weeks with training slightly under FT at shorter interval blocks and will increase the load as I adapt again to the feel of the trainer and as conditioning improves. (sadly and embarrasing as it is I fall under the "untrained category" on the WKO Power Profile at the moment, but my genetics and background also lean heavily to anaerobic activities so I push forward despite genetics because I like cycling. When I competed in bodybuilding long time ago, my attitude was I may not have pro genetics, but that does not mean I cannot train like a pro and over a period of time I eventually qualified for the NPC nationals. So even though my genetics are way on the other side far away from endurance sports I push forward anyway despite landing in the "untrained category". :))

    I felt as if I did not have a choice on the test time since my PT hub was not working correctly and after Saris returned it I promptly scheduled the FT test to get my set point in WKO to be more correct. Not only was the PT hub broken, but my fitness level dropped because work and travel commitments impacted training. I think with my reworking of the schedule described above and given the amount of weeks for this periodization, I believe I can test again later in September and hope that it will be a little cooler.
     
  14. DancenMacabre

    DancenMacabre New Member

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    Felt....

    Lots of consistent training indoors, using the PM, having that enthusiasm...I'd say you are primed to find some excellent gains in the not too distant future. Just a thought, maybe you ought to post some of your progress in the "killing me" thread as that's a decent group of hard working riders who can appreciate your situation.

    About where your actual FT stands and how it fits in the power profile tables, I'll say this. Obviously, some people are very gifted and respond quickly/rapidly to training. Most of us aren't nearly that lucky and don't progress nearly as fast. See, but I think that's in an absolute sense...meaning the gifted folks may gain, say 25% and 75 watts in 6 months, whereas you might see just 25 watts, but it should still be 25%. I guess I'm saying that there are people who respond quickly to training and those that respond more slowly....but I've yet to meet someone who didn't respond to (sensible) training.

    I can appreciate your feeling like you are a sort of square peg trying to fit in a circle when it comes to body types and endurance cycling. Given your background as a hella accomplished bodybuilder (you did say NPC so that to me means accomplished!), you may not be the ectomorphic, slow-twitch dominant type that so often easily excels in cycling.

    I remember when I started training and using a PM last year....how my power profile was heavily skewed left and downsloping to the right. No surprise given my background in powerlifting and weight training.

    5s power was by far the highest column at "cat 2/3" standards, with everything else in the "untrained" category....(sound familiar?)....I can tell you that a little less than a year later, not only are all the values for the columns well above untrained, but that my 5s, and even 1m power metrics, are no longer the highest on my profile. If you told me that would be true back in fall of last year, I'd have laughed and figured I was definitely a sprinter (back then).

    Guess the point is that while yes, you do have a body type and fiber profile, there are few sports where your body and performance are as "malleable" as cycling. With enough time, hard work, and planning, I bet you can surprise yourself quite pleasantly at how you improve.
     
  15. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Dancen, I was using your phrase last night with the indoor intervals

    hella hurt!!!

    It is a love/hate thing with that trainer, but good stuff though and thanks for your encouragement.

    If I can keep the consistency factor in the equation I am excited and anticipating good results in the coming months.
     
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